USG eclips August 6, 2015

University System News:
Kennesaw State professor chosen to lead film training effort
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia higher education officials say they have chosen a 28-year veteran of the film and television industry to lead a new effort training more people to work on productions. Jeffrey Stepakoff will act as the executive director of the Georgia Film Academy. University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby and Technical College System of Georgia Commissioner Gretchen Corbin announced his appointment on Tuesday.
Senate Seeks Ways to Take Income Out of Graduation Rate Equation
by Catherine Morris
A Senate committee looked at how colleges and universities might improve student success at a hearing on Wednesday. The simplest metric of student success are graduation rates. Senators and hearing witnesses said that too many students drop out of college or take too long to graduate. There are a host of reasons for why students fail to graduate. Those that graduate tend to be enrolled full time or make steady progress toward a degree, underscoring yet again the importance of the year-round Pell Grant, which allows students to continue their studies in the summer. …Georgia State University is tackling graduation success. A decade ago, their overall graduation rate stood at 32 percent overall. Timothy Renick, GSU vice provost, said that 1,000 students were dropping out each semester because they could not pay their full bill for tuition and fees. Sometimes they fell short by a matter of a few hundred dollars. So the university started a program to give out one-time microloans to students with proven academic aptitude. The university also overhauled its academic advising system. As a result of all these changes, Renick said, “Georgia State University now graduates 1,700 more students annually than it did just five years ago and confers more bachelor’s degrees to African-Americans than any nonprofit college or university in the nation.”
$32 million facility on the way at UNG
by Sharon Hall
The Board of Regents for the University System of Georgia approved a nearly $32 million plan to construct a convocation center at the University of North Georgia’s (UNG) Dahlonega campus recently. For the design and planning stages of the project, the Board of Regents approved the university’s budget request for $3.5 million for fiscal year 2016, said Gerald Sullivan, Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services and Real Estate for the university.
Effingham students awarded GFB Scholarships for agriculture
Special to Effingham Now
MACON – Morgan Rushing and Sophie Usher are among 10 students statewide to receive a 2015 Georgia Farm Bureau Scholarship for Agriculture. Rushing, a 2015 graduate of South Effingham High School (SEHS), is the daughter of Pat and Suzanne Rushing of Guyton. Usher, a 2015 graduate of Effingham County High School, is the daughter of Timothy and Holly Usher of Clyo. Both were among the seven students statewide to receive a $750 scholarship each. …The scholarships, intended to recognize and assist deserving and outstanding young people pursuing college degrees in agriculture and related fields, are for students who plan to enroll in a unit of the University System of Georgia or Berry College for the 2014-2015 academic year. Rushing plans to enter the University of Georgia this fall and pursue a degree in animal science. …Usher plans to attend the University of Georgia this fall to major in avian biology.
Explaining USG policy changes on reporting sexual harassment
Nicolle Sartain
Note: This piece is part of a special report on handling sexual harassment within the University System of Georgia. For the companion piece detailing a student’s experience, see here.
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia is setting up a system for its colleges to follow guidelines in handling situations of safety for employees and students. Specifically, they will be making adjustments to how cases such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic or dating violence and stalking will be handled. In the past, how each university in the state handles these cases has been drastically different.
The Case: One student’s story reporting sexual harassment
…Unfortunately, experiences like mine are incredibly common. According to a study published in 2006 by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, nearly two-thirds of college students experience some type of sexual harassment. This can include physical harassment such as groping, noncontact forms of harassment like catcalling, and harassment through electronic messages. While the sexual harassment I experienced never left any physical scars or bruises, the criticism and judgement of my personality and sexuality chipped away at my feeling of safety and self-esteem. The abusive behavior became my new normal. But it took a sudden escalation for me to even realize I needed help.

USG Institutions:
UGA Foundation helps break university fundraising record
Alex Estroff
This year was record-breaking in terms of University of Georgia fundraising. As of June 30, the University raised $144.2 million in donations. This was the culmination of a revamped fundraising effort by President Jere W. Morehead and the rest of the UGA senior administration in recent years. Kelly Kerner, vice president of development and alumni relations, said that she attributes the increase in donations to donors who have heard President Morehead’s message indicating the great need for private gifts to keep the University of Georgia on an upward trajectory.
Navy reverses course, will honor promise to give teenager a full college scholarship
When 18-year-old William Wood graduated high school, he was planning to attend Brenau University, where he had a $24,000 scholarship. He ended up forfeiting that scholarship though, after the Navy publicly awarded him with a $180,000 full ride to the school of his choice, provided that the school had an active ROTC program, which Brenau did not. So Wood enrolled in Savannah State University instead, and was thrilled at the opportunity — he had wanted to join the Navy all his life.
Georgia Southern University Receives $1.6 Million Grant For Advanced Nursing Education
By Chris Kane
Georgia Southern University’s School of Nursing recently received a $1.6 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for advanced nursing education. With the funds, Georgia Southern will establish an Advanced Practice Nurse-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (APN-PMHNP) track to uniquely serve the psychiatric and mental health needs of rural and underserved communities, making it the only university in the state to focus on telemedicine training.
VSU receives Models of Excellence Award for student success initiatives
VALDOSTA – Valdosta State University received the Summer 2015 University Business Models of Excellence Award for using data to improve retention, academic success, campus life engagement, and graduation rates. This is the sixth national and international award that VSU has received for innovation and data analytics.
Enrollment decline prompts VSU layoffs
By Dave Miller
VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) – Valdosta State University announced that they will be laying off 33 people at the end of this academic year. The layoff is the result of a continued decline in enrollment over the past four years, down 17% from their peak in 2011. The school is facing a reduction of $2.4 million in state funds this year, compared to what they had last year, because of a drop off in enrollment.
Faculty Member Speaks Out After 33 Job Cuts at VSU
Winnie Wright
Valdosta, GA – Valdosta State University Administrators laid off 33 faculty and staff Wednesday, blaming the move on budget concerns. “I love my job, so I’m really really devastated,” says Teresa Paliwoda, who has been teaching at VSU since 2008. Each year, she is been given great reviews and last year she was even promoted from a Instructor to an Lecturer. Paliwoda was told by the Head of the English Department that she wouldn’t have a job next school year. She blames the promotion.
Prominent Columbus attorney and legal expert laid to rest
By Barbara Gauthier
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Philanthropist and well-known Columbus attorney, Morton “Mort” Harris was laid to rest Wednesday. His most recent philanthropic endeavor was the Morton A. and Judye S. Harris Scholarship Endowment Fund at Columbus State University.
Video evidence led to charges against Athens-Clarke police officer
Video may have been the crucial evidence leading investigators to charge fired Athens-Clarke police officer Jonathan Fraser with felony aggravated assault in connection with a June 13 arrest of a University of Georgia student.
“Video is what it is,” said Jesse Maddox, assistant special agent in charge of the Athens office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Fraser repeatedly struck and injured 19-year-old Michael Roquet with his police baton, described as a deadly weapon capable of causing bodily harm in a warrant for Fraser’s arrest sworn out by GBI investigator Rebecca Herold Monday.

Higher Education News:
Big Completion Goals in Texas
August 6, 2015
By Ashley A. Smith
In order to stay competitive regionally and globally, states have been pushing for more residents to earn a college degree or certificate. It’s an initiative that has been picking up steam across the country, as free-two-year college programs grow and colleges work on closing achievement gaps — all in an effort to get more college credentials into the hands of America’s workers. Texas has become the latest state to join the college completion agenda. Last month the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board adopted a new goal for 60 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds in the state to hold a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030.
A College System Measures How Low-Paying Degrees Serve the Public Good
By Eric Kelderman
Newport Beach, Calif.
Everyone, it seems, is trying to measure the value of a college degree. For many elected officials in the states, that amount boils down to a fairly simple number: The earnings of the person who received that credential. But while higher-education officials often tout the salary bonus conferred by a bachelor’s degree, for instance, many of those same officials worry about overrelying on wages as the only way to demonstrate the value of a college education.